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Bishop Pates Joins Cuban Bishops’ Appeal for End to U.S. Embargo

September 26, 2013

WASHINGTON—Because "engagement will do more than isolation to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering," the chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace reiterated a call to lift the U.S. embargo against Cuba. In a September 26 letter to National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice, Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, said the move would allow support and assistance to flow to ordinary Cubans.

"More engagement will help the people of Cuba achieve greater freedom, human rights and religious liberty," wrote Bishop Pates, calling for a policy that "establishes full diplomatic relations with Cuba, withdraws all restrictions on travel to Cuba, rescinds terrorist designations aimed at Cuba, encourages trade that will benefit both nations, and facilitates cooperation in the areas of environmental protection, drug interdiction and scientific exchanges."

Bishop Pates' letter follows the September 15 pastoral letter of the Cuban Bishops' Conference, "Hope Does Not Disappoint." In the letter, the Cuban bishops echoed the words of Pope John Paul II, who said U.S. policies toward Cuba have increased "the difficulties of the weakest concerning basics such as food, health and education." Bishop Pates said the U.S. bishops stand with the bishops of Cuba in "their call for greater respect for the human person."

The full text of Bishop Pates' letter is available online:

Previous letters regarding the U.S. bishops' position on Cuba are also available online:


Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, U.S. bishops, Cuba, embargo, human rights, religious freedom, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Committee on International Justice and Peace, poverty, assistance

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Don Clemmer
O: 202-541-3206

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